What providers must consider when moving to the cloud

The cloud may be one of the most-used buzzwords in healthcare in 2016 as providers look to find ways to store data in an easier and more cost effective way.

However, in moving to the cloud, organizations must tread carefully, John Halamka, M.D., chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center writes in a post on his blog.

Beth Israel's lease on the building where its data center is located will be up in a few years, he says, and he sees it moving to the cloud instead of building a data center.

While currently cloud adoption in healthcare is slow, Chilmark Research, in a recent report, predicts use to accelerate this year. That's buoyed by a recent IDC Health Insights survey that found as providers budgets grow, they are looking to use the funds to expand analytics in the cloud, as well as other initiatives.

So what must providers consider when moving to the cloud? Here's some of Halamka's advice:

  • Create service level agreements and disaster recovery plans if your technology fails or is disrupted by a natural disaster
  • Do an independent audit of your cloud vendor to ensure security protocols are being adhered to, he says. Questions to ask include: Do they have a multi-layered defense to protect against hackers? Do they have physical security in their data centers?  
  • Make sure to have a strong business associate agreement with the cloud vendor. Halamka says that should include giving them a legal mandate to protect privacy, as well as trying to negotiate a cap of at least three years of fees

Halamka says, for his organization, step by step, they'll "get to the point that IT no longer provisions services, but instead procures them from cloud vendors."

To learn more:
- here's the blog post